I must admit that I find bars intoxicatingly gorgeous - large and small, in restaurants and in the home. Admittedly not a huge spirits person myself, though I've been sampling more lately when I'm out on assignment for restaurant and food reviews - I do prefer to stick to a nice glass of wine. The beauty I find in bars has less to do with the assorted bottles themselves, but their unique beauty and the stories these bottles and labels have to tell. Couple that with the manner in which they're displayed with glasses, mixers and add-ins, and the result is an energy that is colorful, serious and slightly whimsical.
The at home bar is as much about decor as it is about the selection of libations, bar and glassware. I've never been a terribly big fan of the bar cart, and I think has overstayed its welcome. I do love the spaces people create for their own personal bars in which they combine art, books and other assorted artifacts to create a space that is be very personal, ebullient, and celebratory. Whether your home is large or small, you needn't much space to create a stunning at home bar.
The Corner Bar:
A piece of Mid Century furniture (or reproduction) takes a stand. Perfect for displaying a few select items, the large doors open for optimal storage of bottles, barware and glassware. A beautiful vignette is created simply by careful placement of a painting, a plant, a few bottles and a decorative tray.
Repurposed with a purpose
An ordinary dresser undergoes an extraordinary renovation when a mini fridge and a wine fridge are built into it. Inside the center of the console is additional storage while elegant decanters and trays are displayed above assorted accessories, artifacts and lamps.
Your favorite piece of antique furniture gets a makeover. If it happens to be a valuable piece do have a piece of glass fitted and placed over the top to protect the wood from spills and moisture. The weathered wood makes for a nice contrast to the shiny brass, silver and glass elements above it.
A Spirited Space
A causal sitting room is given dimension and personality with when assorted acquired artifacts take center-stage next to a cabinet that has had its doors removed and retrofitted with shelving to house assorted bottles, serving and snack items. The African characters seem to be keeping watch of the spirits!
This Bar walked into a Butler's Pantry:
With the addition of a few floating glass shelves, a lovely shade of blue lacquer and vibrant wall paper, this utilitarian space perfectly showcase how perfectly beautiful form and function can come together to create this magnificent bar. (Though my OCD is revealed with the thought that this must be dusted often!)
A Bar Takes a Stand:
Simple can be oh so sophisticated. One really doesn't need much to create a stunning bar display. A few bottles and glasses are all that are needed. If you need a piece of furniture in which to create a bar display you needn't spend a fortune. Start by looking a yard sales, consignment shops, antique shows and Goodwill. Inexpensive furniture can always be dressed up with a coat or two of paint. This could also be a way to utilize and odd piece of furniture that's being stored in the basement because you really weren't sure what to do with it.
Beauty and the Bar:
A simple tray, a few elegant glasses, decanters, artwork and plants work together to create a visually stunning image. Looking for artwork? Framed posters, prints and lithographs are a great way to start and can all be found online, at your favorite museum, art gallery, even on etsy. I've found some ugly paintings at consignment shops in gorgeous frames. Good frames can be quite pricey so if you spy a good frame at a good price, don't worry about trashing the picture in it. Minor scratches, blemishes and dings can always be covered up by painting or staining the wood.
Mid Century Sensibility
I've been noticing a great many Mid Century pieces (as you've noticed here) being uses as a place to stage and store a home bar. Again, you'll see the now familiar items - a pretty tray, glasses, bottles, plants and artwork. Framed photography is a perfect addition. Make it personal by using images that you have taken on a vacations or travels.
Of Books and Bars
The above might be my favorite of them all - it just speaks to me with all the different layers and textures and items. One's eye isn't drawn to any particular item, but the entire vignette which manages to draw the eyes up, down and then back up again with the many small and large details that all work together. What story is it trying to tell?
The Bar Under the Stairs
This might be the most ingenious of them all. Clever, creative whomever designed this brilliantly crafted something from nothing. Wasted space becomes spectacularly functional.
Best (Book) Case, Bar None
Take advantage of your surroundings. If you're lucky enough to be blessed with gorgeous built-ins, use them. In my humble opinion, bars and books make a perfect pairing - The juxtaposition of the shapes and textures of the assorted bottles and barware play magnificently with the purpose-driven decor and simple shape of books. A door swings down to conceal the area when desired and opens out to become utilitarian when needed to create additional counter space.
The Bar Behind Door Number 1:
I've always liked the closet bar. Perhaps that's because my grandmother had them, long before they were ever en vogue. Some people simply prefer to keep the bottles out of sight and under wraps. I adore the pop of color and element of surprise once the door is opened.
The Bar Behind Door Number 2:
So dramatic! Such a statement! Color and architectural detail take center stage in this home bar which goes to show you just how a splash of color really does go such a very long way.
Simple and Sophisticated
A simple sofa console doesn't take up much of a room's square footage and perfectly serves a purpose to accommodate a home mini bar. I do spy a design flaw here, do you?
(I might not want to keep a wood table or my spirits directly over a heat source!)
A Bar of Elephantine Proportions
Really this isn't a particular big space and not terribly complicated to create. An assortment of bottles, glasses, trays set out on a counter flanked by two elegant lamps in front of a mirror which immediately adds light, height, and dimension to the space. But my favorite element of all, the massive elephants seemingly suspended in air!
A Handsome Bar
Handsome and rich. The ornate piece of furniture might have been made to house a collection of beautifully bottled up spirits. It's intricate beauty is perfectly juxtaposed by the simple and straightforward book collection in front of which it stands.
Bamboo cabinets, a brick and mirrored back splash created a multi- textured Manhattan loft bar built in a small corner, requiring not much space. The disco-like backsplash maximize the space's light much like (though on a smaller scale) the mirror above does.
Rustic Charm, Bar None
An antique armoire with enjoys a new life as a liquor cabinet. Close the doors to conceal the content. As with the other bars, artwork, lighting and plants become part of the composition.